Your One Change to the Rules?

Last month’s High Life Magazine (from BA) marked the Magna Carta moment 800 years ago when the king ruled that no one is above the law. In this stimulating article, several influential people offered one radical rule to improve life. Here we ask which new rules might improve how we lead our organisations.

The Magna Carta gave people in my country a revolutionary moment 800 years ago, in which surprisingly a king limited his own powers, and agreed to govern by a set of rules, including the right of every free man to a fair trial.

High Life Magazine (The Mega Carta) shares “one new rule to improve life” from interviewees ranging from Tim Berner-Lee (inventor of the world wide web) to John Cooper Clarke (a punk poet). Their lluminating and radical ideas included ending the monarchy, and giving the Magna Carta rights to animals.

Here are a few “what if’s” for those leading organisations, that jump out from the article:

  • Teach business enterprise and good governance in schools (Ekow Eshun) -> Do we even teach this in our organisations?
  • Hate a little less and love a little more (Baroness Doreen Lawrence quoting Nelson Mandela) -> Do we take enough care to protect people and champion their value?
  • Open up the House of Lords to everyday citizens one day a month (Yasmin Abilhai-Brown) -> What if everyone gets their turn in the Boardroom, to give ideas, and to learn how decisions are made?
  • A one year company-wide blackout of handheld devices (Jeremy Vine) -> What if one day a month we re-kindle the practice of speaking directly by phone and face to face?
  • Do nothing for a change, take time to look and figure out how stuff really works (Al Murray) -> Instead of being frenziedly doing all the time, let’s commit to observe, take stock and sometimes even sleep on it!
  • Talk to ten strangers a week and smile (Jamal Edwards) -> Since small interactions make us happy let’s do more of them to transform the workplace, creating the joy and wellness that lets us perform.
  • For each new law get rid of three (John Cooper Clarke) -> How much better might the workpalce be with With fewer rules and better manners?
  • All opinons are free to be expressed (Evgeny Lebedev) -> How much do our companies lose by having us terrified to say what we think?

And finally a radical note to end on. If we take the central radical point in the Magna Carta to be that no one is above the law (Billy Bragg), why are our companies accountable only to shareholders, and not to society as a whole?